Prepress is the very foundation of printing in the 21st century. No matter what type of output device is used to produce a printed piece, without software to tell it what to do, all of our pages would remain blank. From design to color management and RIPs to workflow, virtually everything printers produce must first pass through some type of prepress software.
Of course, it has always been true that software changes more often than any other product used by print service providers. For those hoping to stay abreast of the latest software innovations, Graph Expo 2011 was the place to be. And there were also some new prepress hardware items to see.
If you missed it, or in case you just need to refresh your memory of what you saw there, here is an overview of some of the major prepress announcements from Chicago. This information was provided by the vendors and, as always, you should thoroughly research every product before making a purchase.
Marking the 20-year anniversary of the first Fiery digital print controller, EFI showed the Fiery System 10 for the first time at Graph Expo 2011. Two new features involve image correction and calibration. The Fiery Image Enhance Visual Editor (IEVE) is an image correction and enhancement tool accessed directly from the Fiery Command WorkStation print job management and user interface software that ships with Fiery System 10. IEVE allows editing each image in a job without going back to the native design file. It provides an interactive toolset for optimizing image appearance and applying automatic per-image corrections.
Graph Expo also marked the debut of PrintSmith Vision, a full-featured, browser-based management solution that accommodates virtually any combination of production processes. Vision includes estimating, quoting, order tracking, scheduling, production forms, data collection, inventory, costing, and invoicing tools. It is available in single and multiuser configurations and includes data mining and reporting capability. It is fully compatible with EFI Digital StoreFront or EFI PrintSmith Site Web-to-print platforms.
New iQueue 5.0 Ultimate is the latest edition of the prepress workflow designed for Xanté Pro Series Digital Print Systems. The newest feature is Right-On spot color matching. Right-On uses a visual gamma matching system that allows users to make custom color corrections on individual spot colors within a digital file. Send a digital file to iQueue Ultimate and click on the Right-On tab to see a complete list of the file’s spot colors. Right-On allows you to print an individual Color Swatch Page for each spot color listed. Each page has multiple numbered color swatches of different color builds found in the spot color’s gamma. This provides a visual comparison as well as a swatch number you can use to make a correction. Simply enter the new swatch number and Right-On automatically replaces the bad spot color with your new custom conversion. Right-On saves all your spot color changes for a particular job until you decide to make future changes.
Xerox rolled out FreeFlow VI Suite, V. 10.0, featuring a streamlined, more efficient tool kit. Version 10.0 consists of four primary offerings: VI Compose and VI eCompose for hardcopy and electronic composition, and VI Design Pro and VI Design Express for designing variable documents or templates. With VI Compose, this VDP solution can now be extended to non-Xerox printers—cut-sheet or continuous, monochrome or color—in hybrid print environments. Specialty imaging fonts include new features and will now be available for download at no charge.